Streaming Wars: Before You See the Bill Nighy Remake, Revisit Akira Kurosawa’s “Ikiru”

Your weekly film queue.

INTERNATIONAL PICK:

With the Bill Nighy star vehicle Living coming to Portland theaters, it’s time to revisit the film that inspired it: Ikiru (1952), Akira Kurosawa’s peerless meditation on legacy, mortality and friendship. Takashi Shimura stars as a Tokyo bureaucrat who, after learning that he’s dying of stomach cancer, becomes determined to make the most of the time he has left. The cast also includes the magnificent Miki Odagiri, playing a young woman whose joie de vivre reignites the protagonist’s desire to live large, if not long. HBO Max.

SUPERHERO PICK:

For this very publication, I panned Wonder Woman 1984 (2020), Patty Jenkins’ controversial sequel to her 2017 DC Comics blockbuster. Over time, I’ve warmed to its operatic romanticism, its anti-consumerist idealism and its conviction that even a tycoon as corrupt as Pedro Pascal’s Maxwell Lord can be capable of compassion. With the recent ouster of Jenkins from the franchise, it remains to be seen if self-consciously edgy filmmaker and new DC Studios co-head James Gunn (Guardians of the Galaxy, The Suicide Squad) can successfully overhaul the company’s film lineup. HBO Max.

HOLLYWOOD PICK:

No one familiar with the films of professional wild man Doug Liman should have been surprised that he secretly made a documentary about the FBI investigation into Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh (which recently premiered at Sundance). It’s not Liman’s first foray into politics; he previously directed Fair Game (2010), a cutting and compassionate look at the outing of former CIA agent Valerie Plame (Naomi Watts) and the toll the exposure took on her marriage to the late diplomat Joseph Wilson (Sean Penn). HBO Max.